Craven County Digital History Exhibit

Bowen. An Accurate Map of the West Indies (c1750) 

Accession Number TP.1986.055.020


Map: “An Accurate Map of the West Indies…”



Artist/ cartographer: Emanuel Bowen

Engraver: Unknown

Printer/ publisher: Unknown



Laid paper, ink, watercolor






 ca. 1750



Paper: 15 5/8” X 18”

Plate: 13 7/8” X 16 ¾”

Image: 13 ½” X 16 ½”



Hand-colored engraved map: An Accurate Map of the West Indies. Drawn from the best Authorities, assisted by the most approved modern Maps and Charts, and Regulated by Astronomical Observations. By Eman:  Bowen. [cartouche]. | No. 57 [lower left, outside neat line].






The map shows the West Indies, northern South America, Central America, and North America as far north as Maryland. Around the cartouche are two Carib Indians and the British lion with several unidentified animals in the background. Bowen included three explanatory notes: “K. Charles ii by charter dated June 30h 1665 granted to the E[arl] of Clarendon, D[uke] of Albemarle &c the province of Carolina extending southward to the 20th Deg. of N. Latitude, so that Fort S. Augustine as well as Georgia falls within these limits.” “The Bahama Islands were taken from the English by the French and Spaniards in 1703. In 1717 Capt. Rogers, after having plundered most of these Islands retook New Providence, which has ever since belonged to the English.” “St Salvador or Cat Island was the first Land discovered of all America, Anno 1492.”

   The collection also contains a smaller version of Bowen’s map of the West Indies (TP.1984.010.004) without the text.



English engraver and map seller Emanuel Bowen (fl 1749-1767) is best known for his series of British county maps produced in conjunction with other mapmakers including Thomas Kitchen. Bowen’s county maps frequently included historical facts and information on towns, products, climate, etc. in the blank areas. Bowen was responsible for the production of Britannia Depicta, based on earlier road maps by John Ogilby, but with historical facts, coats-of-arms and other heraldic information added. Bowen also issued and reissued numerous other maps.





Permission to use the photograph must be obtained in writing from Tryon Palace Historic Sites & Gardens, New Bern, North Carolina. It must be accompanied by the caption” From the collection of Tryon Palace Historic Sites & Gardens, New Bern, North Carolina; North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources, Division of Archive and History.”

Map Image:


Images scanned by Dean Knight
Text prepared by Nancy Richards and Victor T. Jones, Jr.

Last edited: August 21, 2018

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